Ulli Diemer is a Canadian socialist publisher, writer, and archivist.
Diemer is the co-ordinator of Connexions, a Canadian project founded to enable people working for social justice to share documents, strategies, experiences, and ideas. As well as maintaining a large online library of left-wing materials, Connexions is also the home of the Connexions Archive, a physical archive of activist publications.
Born in Kassel, Germany, Diemer came to Canada as a child and attended school in Ontario and Newfoundland.
Active in student politics in high school and university, Diemer subsequently worked as a fieldworker for Canadian University Press, the national student press co-operative, and was an editorial collective member at New Hogtown Press, a left-wing book and pamphlet publisher.
In the 1970s, Diemer was one of the founders of the Marxist Institute of Toronto. The Institute was established as an independent centre of Marxist theory and discussion, offering talks and courses on radical issues. Diemer advocated that the Institute adopt a more explicitly libertarian Marxist, non-Leninist perspective, arguing that Leninism was inherently opposed to the emancipatory goals of Marxism. The ensuing debates eventually led to a split and the departure of members who identified with Leninist and Maoist ideologies. Reflecting the change in orientation, the institute was renamed the Toronto Liberation School, and began publishing The Red Menace, a libertarian socialist periodical.
Diemer worked for a number of years as editor of Seven News, a non-profit community newspaper in east-central Toronto. Seven News had been founded by local activists involved in struggles against ‘urban renewal’, slum landlords, bad schools, environmental hazards, inadequate health care, and ongoing systemic discrimination against working class and poor people. Owned and controlled by a community co-operative determined to create an alternative to the mainstream corporate media, Seven News advocated for residents in their battles against developers and politicians while also providing coverage of local news and events. Diemer left Seven News to become co-ordinator of the Connexions project.
Diemer maintains a personal website/blog called Radical Digressions at www.diemer.ca.
Quote: “I am a libertarian socialist. My goal is the end of capitalism and its replacement by socialism, ‘an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.’ Socialism is fundamentally about expanding the realm of freedom to the greatest possible extent. It requires ridding the world of capitalism, which crushes human lives and potential while increasingly threatening the planet. The malignant heart of capitalism is capital, so ending capitalism means eradicating capital. Social reforms, no matter how valuable and worth pursuing, cannot in themselves defeat capitalism. That requires a revolution: the overthrow of the rule of capital and the state forms through which it rules. Revolution can take many forms, but a socialist revolution inescapably means ripping off the straitjacket of capital’s political and legal structures. Capitalism’s contradictions are pushing us down the road to destruction. We have to end it before it destroys us.”